Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hear Hear!

"No one disagrees in the art world. There is very little active disagreement in the art world, especially compared to the literary world where people eviscerate each other. You have an argument in the New York Review of Books and you have the writer and his friends piling on, and in the art world you don't have that. I wish you did. I'd love nothing more than for a pile of letters to come in to tell me I'm wrong... not because I might change my opinion if I found something there, but you want to get people riled, get people agreeing or disagreeing with you. But in the art world, because success is so based on inside information and insider relations, I find very few people tell you what they really do think.

"I want them to say, 'I really disagree with it, do you really think what you wrote is correct?' Am I naïve to think that?"

via Christian Viveros-Faune on Modern Art Notes

Dammit, I think that's just perfect.


hovie said...

Very true. Many are worried that saying the wrong thing will tumble all the social-networking dominoes.

But even when you're not arguing about the work of friends and colleagues, it's not that easy to develop clear concise opinions about work, nor defend them readily. There's always a justification for any given work. Any argument pitting one subjective justification against another is bound to be futile.

Especially when so many people have a winner-take-all attitude. Plenty of folks can't just say, "okay, that's your opinion," but say, "no! you're wrong!" Even Viveros-Faune suffers from this, if only a bit. In the same interview you cited, he goes ballistic on Terence Koh: "It's some of the worst, shallowest, most facile work around and I really really despise it." Yikes. You really want to send this guy a letter? He's not going to convince a Koh fan, and vice versa. So both sides calculate all their moves up to the end-game and then they say screw it, let's not go there, let's keep our opinions to ourselves and let's go have another mocha.

And besides, opinions change all the time. How many artists did you hate until you loved them? Maybe Viveros-Faune will love Terence Koh in five or ten years. Then what? People hedge their bets. If they don't love something, they figure they might love it later. No sense burning the bridge if they might want to cross it later.

b.s. said...

Well, I'm a jerk. I'll say what I want and wade across the river.

Building bridges is possible even if you have to do it yourself and it takes a long time. This isn't warfare- it's politics.

Anonymous said...

yeah! quit being a little bitch just because everyone else is...